TAMPA, Fla. -- If the Phillies were to pick a camp eye-opener for spring training, David Buchanan and Mario Hollands would probably split the vote.
Neither pitcher was protected on the club’s 40-man roster in November -- and 29 other teams passed on them in the Rule 5 draft -- but they came into their first big-league camp and put themselves on the Phillies’ radar.
Hollands, a 25-year-old lefty who has pitched only briefly in Triple A, appears to be headed for a spot in the season-opening bullpen.
Buchanan learned Tuesday that he will not make the opening day roster, but he could return from Triple A as soon as April 14 when the Phillies will need a fifth starter for the first time. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed just six hits and three runs in 12 spring innings. He impressed club officials with his poise and ability to keep the ball down.
Buchanan was a late invite to big-league camp. He was brought in because team officials were concerned about starting pitching depth. Buchanan made the most of the opportunity. Fans in Philadelphia will get a chance to see him work Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. He is making the trip north for the two exhibition games against the Pirates then will head to Triple A.
Buchanan was understandably disappointed when manager Ryne Sandberg told him he would not open with the big club, but he still had plenty of reason to be happy with his camp.
“I was the last guy invited, a non-roster guy,” he said before the Phillies departed Clearwater to play the Yankees on Tuesday night. “I wanted to come in, make an impression and open some eyes, and I feel like I did that. I feel like I proved that I’m ready for the next level.
“I had a blast every day in camp. Not many guys can say they stayed this long. I enjoyed my time here and I get to cap it off by pitching in Citizens Bank Park. You can’t ask for more than that. Sometime this summer or whenever the need arises, hopefully I made a name for myself and might be the guy they call.”
Buchanan won’t be the only candidate to become the Phillies’ fifth starter in mid-April. Jonathan Pettibone is healthy after an early-camp sore shoulder and could be in the mix. Jeff Manship will also be a consideration. The right-hander did not hurt his chances with four walk-free shutout innings against the Yankees on Tuesday night.
Of course, whoever becomes the fifth starter might not be around long. Cole Hamels is expected to join the rotation in late April. Hamels had been slowed by shoulder tendinitis/fatigue, but he’s firing now and should begin pitching in minor-league games later this week.
The Phillies rode back-to-back homers by Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd to a 6-0 win over the Yankees.
Bobby Abreu, still bidding for a spot on the opening day roster, had an RBI single.
Reliever Mike Adams got his first Grapefruit League action of the spring. He allowed two singles and no runs. His fastball was 87 to 89 mph.
Adams, who had shoulder surgery in July, will open the season on the disabled list. He hopes to be ready to join the Phils sometime in April.
Opening day starter Cliff Lee makes his final spring start Wednesday in Clearwater against the Tigers and Justin Verlander.